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prologue

sunny 22 °C

True or false: if you worked at a kebab shop full-time and were over the age of 25 you would not use that as a pick-up line, or really want to share that information with anyone.

For myself and most of my friends that answer is a resounding TRUE, however in Turkey the answer is opposite, and it is so refreshing! After chats with new Turkish friends on my recent trip down the coast I noticed a theme: in the career department anything goes, and everyone is happy! The loaded question of 'what do you do' that is so common in Canada seems silly to ask here because the answer is what it is - all the implications of a chosen career are gone. You see, unemployment is a real concern in Turkey so that Turks are proud to have a job, period. For someone like me who grew up in a wealthy society, saturated with status and image associated with careers, I found it liberating. The question of what to do with my life has always brought me some angst as the possibilities seem endless and the choice that much harder, but in a Turkish context the pressure is off - having any job is enough. I guess you could say the Turks I spoke with do not have the luxury of my current dilemma.

The best advice on this subject comes from the wisest friend of mine and my Mem's, John, who suggested that following passion will lead to a happy career. He and the Turks know this well, but somehow a lot of us have listened to society or our bank accounts, seeking jobs with status or a few extra zero's. I certainly feel restrained by these considerations, not to mention the slight problem that I feel passionately about something new on a weekly basis. A typical month's worth of inner monologue goes like this: I could TOTALLY go to France and learn French for the summer! Or, for that matter, Spanish in Ecuador! Actually, better to have a trade than a language - think I'll take a mechanics course when I'm home. Or architecture. I really like teaching too, maybe a TESOL course would open some doors? This is my life.

Grad school has succeeded in keeping these demons at bay for the most part, but as my masters inches closer to completion I can feel the dreaded shadow of responsibility looming over my shoulder. Debt is mounting but for now it is justified, I just have to keep moving and stay engaged with trips and friends so I can ignore that big jerk waiting to tap me on the back and hand me the bill. It's going to happen anyway, may as well enjoy it, right? As soon as my last paper is handed in, though, I fear I will be enveloped in a grown-up shit storm of responsibilities. The ironic sucker punch of all this is that even though I will be a master of international affairs I am no closer to choosing a career. So, with a week stretched out before me, a friend by my side, and The Alchemist stolen from a hostel's bookshelf, I put on a Turkish hat and imagined doing anything and everything that would make me happy. Freed from mental vices I gave to pondering my future in earnest. And it worked!

Visions of becoming a tour guide in Vancouver sparkled in my imagination, but as the magic combination of sun, salt and sand worked in concert with the inspiration in my book it became vibrantly clear: I need to write! Ever since I was little I have been writing; it is the one thing that allows me to lose myself. (I have felt so unsure of this as a career-path that I was even thinking of going to a psychic to have her ask some spirits if this is for me, with my own living Grama encouraging me to do so. What makes advise from beyond the grave more important, I cannot tell you!) In the past I have always dismissed it as a career due to how little money is in it and how difficult it is to 'make it' as a writer. Well no more! Upon my return to Vancouver - and where ever else my whims may take me - I will be writing and trying to get paid for it. (And if anyone out there knows of actual writing jobs I would love to hear about them!)

With this in mind, I will be off to Syria bright and early tomorrow morning for a week of reunion-fun with friends from my program. I am already hungry for more experiences to fill my chapters. Stay tuned!

Posted by LeiCran 14:39 Archived in Turkey Tagged backpacking

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